Please come along.
For 4 years in the Eighties England used to be my home, and London used to be my hometown. But when I lived and worked there, all I really did was work...there was no time to visit other parts of that wonderful and beautiful country. During the years following that period, I've compiled a list in my head of all the places I had wanted to visit, would I have had the money and time.
Wiltshire was one of those places.
So I worked out a road trip starting in Harwich, taking in a piece of London as my darling daughter was determined to visit Hampton Court, and then working our way down to Wiltshire.
This first installment will tell you about the first two days we spent in the UK.
The first night, straight off the ferry, I had decided to stay the night in a b&b in Colchester, as I didn't want to be driving in the dark, on the left, straight away.
As little said about that b&b (The Grey Inn) as possible...it was old and decrepit and had a second life as a shagging-by-the-hour place - we heard everything through the walls...
So, for the second night I decided to treat ourselves to a wonderful b&b in Richmond, called the Rose of York, overlooking the river.
The weather was wonderful, so the first day, after driving around the West route around London (I don't bite nails, but could've! But I did fine, really, and for the rest of the holiday the driving was a doddle) and checking in, we took a lovely walk along the Thames after descending the hill.
We walked all the way up to Teddington, and then back again and visited Ham House.
It being a lovely balmy night, the riverside was teeming with people having a drink, or pottering about in boats, or taking a walk, like us. For a Dutch girl it was a very nice initiation into English after-work customs. She saw businessmen in their shirtsleeves, tie loose, proper coat tied to the back of their bikes, cycling home along the towpath at breakneck speed. But also how many people enjoyed each others company outside on a Tuesday evening.
The next morning we took a bus from Richmond Hill to Hampton Court.
Unfortunately the weather turned, and would not turn again...So the rest of our holiday was spent watching rainclouds gather, googling the dry spells and dodging the raindrops.
It was my fifth visit to Hampton Court, but my daughter lapped it all up and they practically had to evict her when it closed.
All in all it was a very good start to our road trip. We had a lovely vegetarian dinner in The Slug and Lettuce in Richmond, watched the now deserted towpath gleam in the rain, and were looking forward to driving West towards Jane Austen country the next day.
Next post: Jane Austen's village.